AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Charter schools in Texas would have to offer the pledge of allegiance or a moment of silence each day under a bill given preliminary approval by the House.
The measure overwhelming passed Thursday but not without friction. Republican state Rep. David Simpson wanted to soften the language from asking students to "recite" the pledge to doing so "freely without coercion."
Simpson is among the most prominent tea party members in the Legislature. He told the House that although he supports students saying the pledge, the U.S. Constitution "requires that we not compel people."
Lawmakers quickly lined up to block Simpson's amendment. Republican Marsha Farney said her bill doesn't compel charter-school students to say the pledge but merely gives them the opportunity.
Her bill passed 123-8.